In a surprising turn of events, the opening week of Dana White’s Contender Series Season 7 witnessed a generous distribution of five contracts—a significant departure from the previous season’s singular deal, which left even the UFC President, Dana White, a bit frustrated.
Across five divisions, five determined contenders secured their spots on the coveted UFC roster at the APEX last week. Among them were the promising bantamweight prospect Payton Talbott, the Australian lightweight sensation Tom “Big Train” Nolan, and the experienced kickboxing maestro Cesar Almeida.
As the anticipation heightens for Week 2, another set of five aspiring fighters prepare to step into the cage, fueled by the desire to showcase their exceptional skills and deliver the kind of electrifying performance that will earn them the coveted call to the Octagon.
For the past three seasons, all victors from Week 2 have successfully graduated to the UFC roster. Notable names like Adrian Yanez, Chidi Njokuani, and Chris Duncan have paved the way, adding an extra layer of motivation for this week’s contenders to excel under the Tuesday night lights.
Here’s a closer look at the Week 2 lineup:
George Hardwick vs Abdul-Kerim Al-Selwady
This week culminates with an epic clash that is already being touted as one of the most anticipated matchups in DWCS history. Abdul-Kerim Al-Selwady and George Hardwick, two remarkable lightweight talents, will go head-to-head in a battle that promises fireworks.
Representing Fortis MMA, Al-Selwady earned the vacant Fury FC title in his last outing with a unanimous decision victory over Michael Murphy, extending his winning streak to four and boasting an impressive 14-3 record. Meanwhile, reigning Cage Warriors lightweight champion Hardwick brings an awe-inspiring eight-fight winning streak, with all but one win sealed by finishes, and an enviable 12-1 overall record.
These two young stars have showcased their prowess in top-tier promotions, and their journey so far indicates that they not only belong in the UFC but could potentially thrive. Expect a captivating showdown that has all the makings of an instant classic—a fitting close to an exhilarating Week 2.
Ibo Aslan vs Paulo Renato Junior
Former heavyweights Paulo Renato Junior and Ibo Aslan take the plunge into a new division as they vie for a chance to catch the discerning eye of UFC President Dana White on Tuesday night.
While Renato Junior encountered a setback last season on the Contender Series, he rebounded with back-to-back first-round stoppages, elevating his record to an impressive 12-2. Meanwhile, the 27-year-old Aslan, with an 11-1 record, has faced only one defeat, delivered by former DWCS contender and current UFC light heavyweight Anton Turkalj.
History beckons for these fighters, as the last three seasons have seen every victorious light heavyweight secure a spot in the Octagon. Renato Junior and Aslan have the opportunity to add their names to that prestigious list, fueling the intensity of their upcoming clash.
Hyder Amil vs Emrah Sonmez
The featherweight division takes center stage as Hyder Amil and Emrah Sonmez collide in a showdown that promises high-octane action.
Amil, aged 33, arrives undefeated, having clinched his last three triumphs in the LFA arena, including a second-round stoppage victory over DWCS alum Chase Gibson. Hailing from Great Britain Top Team, Sonmez lands in Las Vegas on the back of a triumphant three-fight streak, boasting a solid 14-4 record, with a staggering 11 victories ending inside the distance.
Will Amil’s unbeaten streak persist, or can Sonmez extend his own winning run to four? The stakes are high, as both fighters seek to make a lasting impression that could secure their entry into the illustrious UFC Octagon.
Eduarda Moura vs Janaina Silva
A battle of unbeaten Brazilian strawweights is set to captivate audiences as Eduardo Moura takes on compatriot Janaina Silva.
Moura, fondly known as “Ronda,” enters the contest with an unblemished record, having secured all but one of her eight career victories via finishes. Meanwhile, the 31-year-old Silva boasts a spotless record of her own, amassing five consecutive wins since her professional debut just under four years ago.
The allure of two undefeated athletes vying for the chance to ascend to the UFC roster promises an enthralling spectacle that fight fans won’t want to miss.
Cameron Smotherman vs Charalampos Grigoriou
The inaugural bout of the week features a clash of regional champions—Cameron Smotherman and Charalampos Grigoriou—as they set the tone for the action-packed Week 2.
Affectionately dubbed “The Baby-Faced Killer,” Smotherman has established his dominance under the Fury FC banner, securing an impressive 8-3 record and a four-fight winning streak. His latest conquest saw him seize the vacant bantamweight title with a second-round stoppage victory. On the other side, Grigoriou, a familiar name on the East Coast regional circuit, arrives with a momentum of his own, boasting three consecutive victories, culminating in a fifth-round finish to claim the Combat FC strap.
Following the impressive performance by Payton Talbott in the previous week, the expectations are set sky-high for the bantamweight competitors in this Contender Series season. The stage is set for Smotherman and Grigoriou to deliver an electrifying showdown and prove their mettle on their path to UFC glory.